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a poem and pilgrimage in the Holy Land

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Mortmain aloof and single sat—
In range with Rolfe, as viewed from mat
Where Vine reposed, observing there
That these in contour of the head
And goodly profile made a pair,
Though one looked like a statue dead.
Methinks (mused Vine), 'tis Ahab's court
And yon the Tishbite; he'll consort
Not long, but Kedron seek. It proved
Even so: the desert-heart removed.
But he of bins, whose wakeful eye
On him had fixed, and followed sly
Until the shadow left the door,
Turned short, and tristful visage wore
In quaint appeal. A shrug; and then
“Beseech ye now, ye friendly men,
Who's he—a cup, pray;—O, my faith!
That funeral cap of his means death
To all good fellowship in feast.
Mad, say he's mad!”
Awhile the priest
And Rolfe, reminded here in heart
Of more than well they might impart,
Uneasy sat. But this went by:
Ill sort some truths with revelry.—
The giant plied the flask. For Vine
Relaxed he viewed nor spurned the wine,
But humorously moralized
On those five souls imparadised
For term how brief; well pleased to scan
The Mytilene, the juicy man.
Earth—of the earth (thought Vine) well, well,
So's a fresh turf, but good the smell.


Yes, deemed by some medicinal—
Most too if damped with wine of Xeres
And snuffed at when the spirit wearies.
I have it under strong advising
'Tis good at whiles this sensualizing;
Would I could joy in it myself;
But no!—
For Derwent, he, light elf,
Not vainly stifling recent fret,
Under the table his two knees
Pushed deeper, so as e'en to get
Closer in comradeship at ease.
Arnaut and Spahi, in respect
Of all adventures they had known,
These chiefly did the priest affect:
Adventures, such as duly shown
Printed in books, seem passing strange
To clerks which read them by the fire,
Yet be the wonted common-place
Of some who in the Orient range,
Free-lances, spendthrifts of their hire,
And who in end, when they retrace
Their lives, see little to admire
Or wonder at, so dull they be
(Like fish mid marvels of the sea)
To every thing that is not pent
In self, or thereto ministrant.